Friday, March 30, 2012

50 Women Game-Changers in Food - #41 - Elizabeth Andoh - Udon Soup with Vegetables and Tofu

I'm always on the lookout for beautiful, delicious food that is also healthy.  To say nothing of the delight in making a meal that didn't empty the wallet at the check-out.  Enter this sweet and toothsome goodie, "Udon Soup with Vegetables and Tofu," that's just as far away from your capital T-typical noodle soup as it can get without falling off the edge of the comparison.   Add vegetables, lovingly cut PREE-cisely teensy of course,  a nice slew of tofu, and you're eating a recipe from Elizabeth Andoh, who is number forty-one on Gourmet Live's list of 50 Women Game-Changers.

Living in Japan for for decades,  Elizabeth Andoh attended Yanagihara Kinsaryu School of Traditional Japanese Cuisine (Tokyo), wrote several Japanese cookbooks (scroll down for list), and for years served as Gourmet magazine's Japanese food writer.  She also teaches cooking classes in Tokyo if you're ever out that way.   Most recently, Andoh published Kibo: ("Brimming with Hope)  Recipes and Stories
from Japan's Tohoku...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Greek Goddess Salmon Salad

 We've gone from summer (80 degrees F) to spring (70 degrees F) and back to late winter/early spring (41 degrees F) and it's feeling odd.  I don't know what to put on.   I don't know whether to open the storm windows, close them, or install the window air conditioners.  Living in a 1915 house precludes most central air systems, though I'm sometimes tempted.  Last week would be one of them.  The lilac leaves are all budded out, the azalea bush flowers are full, the jonquils, grape hyacinths, snow drops and crocus are in bloom (all together) and the tulips are on their way.  6 weeks ahead of schedule.  The average temperature for March in St. Paul is 37 degrees.  Not sixty-something.   Not 80.

Forsythia--north end of our Wheeler block

Not only was the weather way out of whack, but my computer fritzed.  The network, too.  For days I had no internet access (we think due to hijacking from out-of-country hackers), and am perhaps only temporarily connected now.  If you are looking for my Elena Arzak  for the 50 Women Game-Changers group post from last Friday, it's gone.  If I have time to resurrect  it, I will; so far, it's not happening.  Hopefully, this Friday, I'll be on track with Elizabeth Andoh.  What's hard to take is how computer-dependent I am (we are.) 

We've been drinking our coffee and reading the paper on the porch, which usually isn't accessible for another month at least.  Music?  Just turn on phone!   Had friends over twice last week for drinks or dinner and were just happy to be there so early in the year.

Meantime, there was a night with a sweet salmon salad I'd share with you.  While we love salmon and it's great food, we try not to eat tremendous amounts of it.  It's good for you, but you have to watch the calories and the mercury content.  To say nothing of the expense of wild salmon.  So we eat it in moderation.   We split a portion or we each have some in salad and we're happy.  I sometimes just make an old-fashioned salmon salad (just like tuna salad) and have it for lunch with whole-wheat crackers and sliced tomatoes. 

I usually cook salmon* in one of three ways:  1.  Baked in foil. 2.  Grilled stove-top or on outdoor grill.  3.  Poached.  There's the rare time I poach it in a tomato sauce (I do that with white fish more often) or something like that, but those are the three typical methods.   This salmon was grilled stove-top, so I opened the windows (a  must), turned on the exhaust fan, and lit a kitchen candle.  While the fish grilled, I got together a bit of green salad, sauteed a few diced vegetables,  sliced a tiny piece of Irish cheddar leftover from St. Pat's Day, and pulled the Greek Goddess out of the frig.  I used Melissa Clark's Greek Goddess dip recipe (scroll down).   If you've never made this dip (it's great in summer with fresh herbs in your garden), do it soon.  You'll be so glad you did.   Here's how:

Greek Goddess Salmon Salad    serves 2

6-7oz salmon filet, cut in half
6 cups salad greens
1/4 cup each diced asparagus, sweet red bell pepper, sweet yellow bell pepper,
        sliced scallions or chopped purple onion
2 oz sliced white cheddar
1/3 cup Greek Goddess dip/dressing (see below)--Can use purchased pesto in place of dip, if desired.
4T olive oil, divided
1/2 lemon

  • Heat grill pan or cast iron skillet over high heat.   Drizzle salmon with oil and dust generously with salt and pepper.  Place salmon on grill and let sit without moving for 5 minutes.  Turn and grill another three minutes.  Remove to a plate, cover with foil,  and let rest for 2-3 minutes.  Will be a bit rare and continue to cook as it rests.
  • Meantime, heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat with a bit olive oil.  Add asparagus, red and yellow peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add green onions to the asparagus mixture and cook another minute.  Remove from heat and cool briefly.
  • Divide salad greens between the two plates and top with cooked vegetables, cheese, and salmon.  Top salmon with Greek Goddess dip/dressing. (See below.)  Squeeze lemon over all and dust with salt and pepper.  Drizzle with remaining olive oil.

Melissa Clark's Greek Goddess Dip  (Click on Melissa's name for more of her great recipes.)

1/2 cup packed fresh dill
1/2 cup packed fresh mint
1/2 cup packed fresh parsley
1/3 cup packed fresh basil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 scallions, white and green parts, sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch kosher salt, more to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise, optional
Raw chopped vegetables or pita chips, for serving.

1. Place dill, mint, parsley, basil, garlic, scallions, lemon juice and salt in a food processor and process until finely chopped.
2. With motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until incorporated. Add feta and process until smooth; pulse in yogurt. Taste dip and add more salt, if desired. If you like a creamier, richer dip, add mayonnaise and pulse to combine.
3. Serve dip immediately with vegetables or pita chips or cover and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings.
I skip the mayo, add a bit more salt, white pepper,  and drip in some Tabasco.

*Feeling like saving some bucks and eating salmon?  Read my Dinner Place Blog this week:

Tasty and Inexpensive.  Let's not use the word "cheap."

two-dog kitchen and around the 'hood
Also seen at the feeder: male/female goldfinches, red (house) finch, and downy woodpeckers...
Pussy willow in bloom in vase in living room.

Jonquils in Pilgrim Lutheran's garden.
Pilgrim Lutheran  blue "snowdrops," better known as scilla.
Leftover Take-Out Rice Salad on Dinner Place, my "other" food blog.
Love Tucker and Gab!

Sing a new song,

Friday, March 16, 2012

50 Women Game-Changers- #37- Ina Garten-Roasted Shrimp with Feta

how easy is that?
Ina's Roasted Shrimp with Feta from her 2010 book,  How Easy is That? served with salad.
  If I'm home in the afternoon, no one has to ask where I've disappeared to around 3.  I'm watching Ina, of course.  I'll admit that portions of the Food Network are not for me; I switch them off or tune them out.  But if Ina's on (or Tyler Florence), I'm probably watching.  It says a lot.  I'm not a tv person, with the exception of early morning political shows (love "Morning Joe"), a few minutes of TODAY, and the occasional film on the old-movie channel.  I have better fish to fry, literally.  Or I'm at the piano.  Or I'm walking Gabby and Tucker.  Loving Dave.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Friday, March 9, 2012

50 Women Game-Changers in Food -#38 - Darina Allen - Brown Soda Bread

That's it. I'm leaving home.  I always wondered where I'd get my cooking credentials (other than living in my kitchen) and now I know.  I'm going to the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry, County Cork, Ireland.  I'll see you later.  It's time I earned my toque... or at least an apron that says, " Ballymaloe."

Ireland:  Cliffs of Moher                                                                                                                         (copyright Alyce Morgan, 2003)
   Ok, I'm not.  But I'd like to.   Meantime,  just in time for St. Patty's Day, I'm baking some bread from the Cookery School's founder and Ireland's best chef-teacher, Darina Allen, number 38 in Gourmet Live's list of 50 Women Game-Changers in Food:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Ask me about Dessert

Lemon-Syrup Pound Cake with Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream and Blueberry Drizzle

    What's the fun of catering dessert?  What's not the fun of catering dessert?  But I DO LOVE TO HAVE A REASON to make dessert.  And I adore having a reason to try something I love or have never done before; dessert for two is so different than dessert for a group.  We simply don't need a whole pie (well, Dave would argue with that.)  We don't want a whole cake or two quarts of ice cream, which is what my new ice cream maker makes.  But if I'm asked to bring dessert or have a catering job, I get to do the whole shebang. (Scroll down for Lemon-Syrup Pound Cake with Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream and Blueberry Drizzle.)
Seasonal crostatas -- free-form pie

Friday, March 2, 2012

Women Game-Changers #37-Severine von Tscharner Fleming- Moroccan Carrot Salad

‘Farming is an attractive path for people who are getting out of school and feeling like there’s kind of a toxic consumerism and not feeling too excited about working for the Man, especially seeing as he’s been spoiling our politics and a lot of our ecology,’’ she said.  (Severine von Tscharner Fleming via NYT)

#36 on Gourmet's list of 50 Women Game-Changers in Food is Severine von Tscharner Fleming-- farmer, activist, and filmmaker...